Barbara Daniels


Aunt Lucinda's ankle won't heal.
Rime fuzzes the sprockets
of branches. Ice seals the ground.
This time: cadaver skin.
Someone signed forms that said,
"Take every part of me."
Unmeshed cadaver skin
got stapled over the excised
wound. A nurse's white shoes
step through spilled powder.
The dead man's tissue shrinks and
pulls. There's more sky now,
and it's darker. Darkness
climbs into the car with me
through the bared branches.

Putting the Guns Away

I shot my teddy bear. Dropped
a cement block through
a Jaguar's windshield. Watched
a caged mantis eat her mate.
The teddy bear sat on a post,
soft, calm, and took in
the bullets. Glass smashed,
spiked fountain, bright
in the glare of a streetlight.
The mantis moved
her massive jaws, held her legs
in an attitude of prayer.
I put the guns away. Rode out
on waves, stars bursting
and calving, sheets of light
hitting hard water,
silver shine in acid wind.


Sound went to college. He arrived priority mail in a huge cardboard box the registrar
opened. Out came slant rhymes, assonance, stresses that fell in a regular pattern and then
surprised. Sound hung out in the game room, booming in bombs and androids' screams.
Capitalization also Applied and was quickly Accepted through Early Admissions. She
bloated the college into the College, loving the roundness and near completeness of that letter
C. She met Sound in the Game Room, charmed by his Timbre and Clear Potential. Sure that
he needed Extra Enrichment, she brought him to a Concert. Sound kept coughing and
glancing around. But in the Te Deum they both were transfixed. Columns of tones rose and
trembled till both were exalted. Lifted as if in bursts from a gas jet, Flames rushed Up,
blasting them instantly Skyward.

e-mail the poet at
to go back to the home page